I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see Christopher Robin. I heard everybody went nuts over the trailer. I knew it was about A. A. Milne’s famous character—inspired by and written for his own son, who shares the titular character’s name—Christoper Robin, all grown up and finding Pooh and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang, but that was about it. And honestly, they should have stuck to that.
Christopher Robin, directed by Marc Forster, deals with Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) all grown up in 1950’s London, where he works as an efficiency expert at Winslow Luggage. He works constantly, to the point where he puts work over his family. After deciding to stay home while his wife and daughter go on a vacation to Robin’s old childhood cottage, Pooh winds up in London trying to find the rest of his Hundred Acre Wood friends.
This movie has a lot going for it. The animation of Pooh and the rest of his friends is fantastic; I loved how much detail was put into it. It honestly felt like they filmed with real-life talking animals. The cinematography in the Hundred Acre Wood scenes was absolutely beautiful. They felt like something out of a sunset-soaked nostalgic dream.
Once we get back to the real world, however, it’s almost as if we’re watching a different movie. Everything concerning the luggage company feels like it’s out of a different movie. The tone completely shifts from bright and nostalgic to drab and dull. All of the creative, nostalgic energy that went into the Hundred Acre Wood scenes gets sucked completely out. The family was highly underused in this film. I was pleasantly surprised that Hayley Atwell was cast to play Christopher Robin’s wife, but she’s largely a waste in this film, relegated to the wife-telling-her-husband-to-put-family-first cliché. The daughter is also wasted, filling the kid-who-wants-to-please-her-busy-father cliché. I also found the fact that there was a villain in a Winnie the Pooh movie to be very unnecessary, specifically because I found him really basic and flat-out annoying.
I really enjoyed the acting in this film, though. McGregor gave a solid performance, though I know if the script was better, he could have added another layer to Christopher Robin. What blew me away, however, was the voice acting. Jim Cummings gave an amazing performance as Pooh, floating between being happy and sad with ease. Brad Garrett also gave an excellent performance as Eeyore, easily having the most quotable lines in the whole movie.
I honestly think they should have reduced the amount of time put into the real world. There was so much potential to go introspective within Robin’s character, for him to rediscover the childhood he’d lost. But instead, Forster decided to cop out and go with the by-the-numbers fantasy-characters-entering-the-real-world routine halfway through.